Episode one of Walking the Himalayas sees Lev and his guide Malang begin their trek in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor. They meet local Wakhi and Kyrgyz people, from whom Lev hires yaks to help carry equipment to the Pakistani border.
In episode three Lev and Malang traverse breathtaking scenery in Northern Pakistan's remote mountain valleys, meeting tribespeople and nomads, before heading to the heavily militaries frontier with India.
Episode three will be broadcast on Channel 4 on the 10th of January 2016 at 20:00. Watch this space to read Tom's take on filming in India.
Episode 5 sees Lev enter the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, where he visits Tiger's Nest Monastery, the most famous landmark in country perched 700m up a mountain.
Episode five will be broadcast on Channel 4 on the 24th of January 2016 at 20:00. Check back then to hear from Operations Director Tom on filming in the Bhutan.
In episode three Lev reaches Nepal and enters one of its least explored National Parks, which is home to rhinos, tigers and 10-foot long crocodiles. But animals aren't the only dangers he faces...
Episode three will be broadcast on Channel 4 on the 10th of January 2016 at 20:00. Check back then to read about the challenges of filming in Nepal.
In episode two Lev and Malang traverse breathtaking scenery in Northern Pakistan's remote mountain valleys, meeting tribespeople and nomads, before heading to the heavily militaries frontier with India.
Episode two was broadcast on Channel 4 on the 3rd of January 2016 at 20:00.
Pakistan offers film-makers a wide variety of locations – the modern cities of Islamabad and Karachi, archaeological sites such as Mohenjodaro and Taxila, sunny beaches in the south and, most importantly for the Walking the Himalayas crew, the beautiful snow capped mountains in the north.
The Irshad Pass connects the Wakhan Corridor with Pakistan’s Chapursan river valley, part of the upper Hunza valley, and the Karakorum highway. Whilst Lev and Malang were unable to cross the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Wakhi and Kyrgz still us the pass to trade animals.
The Karakorum highway stretches from China to the Khyber Pass, on the border with Afghanistan, and is one of the highest paved international roads in the world. It takes Lev to the city of Gilgit, a major hub for mountaineering in expeditions in the Karakorum and the wider Himalayas.
The Hunza valley is often described as the most beautiful valley on earth, with fertile farmlands and high life expectancy, but filming there is not without its difficulties. The strong presence of Islamic extremists and spiders aside, bridges, traffic and the mountains themselves all posed an added threat to Lev and Malang. It is here that Secret Compass’s in depth planning and risk assessments came into their own.
After leaving Gilgit, where filming had to stop briefly, Lev crosses the border of Gilgit-Baltistan and heads into Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a self-governing administrative division of Pakistan. Part of the greater Kashmir region, the subject of a long-running conflict between India and Pakistan, the territory encompasses the lower part of the Himalayas and is one of the most dangerous parts of Lev’s journey.